Tubes, yep…the best for overdrive…fuzz also sounds better dumping too much current into overdriven pre-amp tubes, especially if you can get power tube saturation.
Tube amps here are a rarity, I have two…a Marshall JCM2000 DSL201 (little 20 watt JCM that I put a vintage Celestion G12-T in).
I personally do NOT like digital, it doesn’t respond the same way. If you want to sound “like” a recording, processors are good, but if you want the genuine feel, the sag as the tubes ask for more power than the transformers can supply…the ability to play relatively clean, then get an overdriven note by digging in hard…analog/tube is the only way to go.
That being said, I have a Digitech RP200 that I’ve used for recording with good results and I’ve also used some of the Korg REMS models for recording. As long as you don’t expect them to be something they are not (a “model” of some very old equipment), they can be quite good in their place.
My effects case, sheesh, lets see if I can remember…have not played in a long time…Stage tuner ----> MXR Dynacomp (compressor) -----> Tubescreamer TS-9 (overdrive) ------> Boss FZ-3 (fuzz, not as good as the vintage germanium, but it does nicely) -------> Old board Crybaby Wah (for your wucka wucka porn music ) -------> Some Boss Phaser (rarely used, dunno why I stuck it there for so long) -------> Danelectro Tremelo (cheap, but nice sound) --------> Ibanez DD10 echo/delay. I’d then run these to an ABY box and run two tube amps, the Marshall and a Peavey Classic 50 410…I’d run the Marshall dirty and run to board, with the Peavy clean and miced…
Mind you that this was after many, many years of trying things, this is what I came up with for my sound.
For someone setting up a new rig, you might consider a good overdrive, like a TS-9 (Ibanez Tubescreamer, think Stevie Ray Vaughan sound)…a compressor is nice, but you might not notice the difference right away, seems more noticable at stage volume…a delay is fun, I HIGHLY recommend the Ibanez DD10 as it does delay and echo (echo is just a delay where the repetitions degrade like they used to on the old tape echo systems).
For my taste, tube amps are the ONLY way to go, although I have played solid state when necessary. They are hard to find here, and can be expensive…servicing is unheard of (I fix my own, and if the repair is beyond my ability or willingness to look down the barrel at 600V at 1+ amp, then I just leave it until I can get it to a doctor who can cure it).
For home ONLY use, I really only recommend two tube amps…the Fender Blues Jr, available here…and the Marshall JCM2000 DSL201 (not available here, although mine MAY be for sale…let me know if you are interested). The Blues Jr. is 15w and the Marshall is 20w. The Jr. is actually louder than the Marshall due to power efficiency in the Fender circuit. The Marshall has a line out so that you can plug it direct to board, turn the power amp down, and practice through headphones off of the board (or amp or digital recorder or whatever ).
Most modern amps have passable reverb, a lot have KILLER reverb .
Guitars? I play Fender…I like a little fight from my instruments. If you are interested in a Fender, the Japanese and Mexican Fenders are EXCELLENT instruments. I personally do not own an American version, have played a heavily modified Mexi-strat as my main instrument for years, and just sold a Mex-Fender re-issue of the '72 Tele Thinline Custome (semi-hollow body).
I’ve retired from professional music, and may have some things I’d be willing to part with. If you decide to go digital, I have the RP-200…the headphone volume seems a little low for me, but I probably have…errr…I DO have severe hearing loss from playing live. I also might be willing to part with the Marshall…I dunno, that one I have to think about…sentimental value, although it does bug me that it is just sitting in storage…my desire for a darkroom may override the sentimental value . I suppose I should also consider selling the effects in my effects case, if they aren’t played, they will eventually start to deteriorate…for that matter, now that I think about it, I think everything except the custom strat is probably for sale to someone who will actually use it .